Archive for April, 2015

SONG OF SONGS (Pt.3)

“O my love, you are as beautiful as Tirzah, Lovely as Jerusalem, Awesome as an army with banners!” (Song of Solomon 6:4 NKJV)

 CAPTIVATED BY HER LOVE

The Shulamite captures the King’s attention.  He sees her through the eyes of love.  We remember that although she had been mistreated by her “brothers”(SOS 1:6) and had been mishandled by the watchmen, who were not alert to her lover passing by them. But she was not made bitter through her experience but better.  She teaches us that by her loving response, that her trials were sent to transform her…not deform her life.

CAPTIVATED BY HIS MAJESTY

She too is attracted to the beauty and majesty of the King.  In Song of Songs Chapter five, she describes her lover from “head to foot” and then declares to the other maidens, “His mouth is most sweet, yes, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem!”(Song of Solomon 5:16 NKJV)  Have you come to a place in your walk with the King that “He is altogether lovely”? Are you surrendered to all of His ways?  This is where the Bridal Call becomes a Bridal Friendship; their hearts have become one heartbeat. The bride is now able to say (In spite of difficulties), “Yes, Lord.  Not as I will but Thy will be done”.

The Shulamite is also captured when she sees the King movement through the desert. “Who is this coming out of the wilderness Like pillars of smoke, Perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all the merchant’s fragrant powders? Behold, it is Solomon’s couch, with sixty valiant men around it, of the valiant of Israel. They all hold swords, Being expert in war. Every man has his sword on his thigh Because of fear in the night. Of the wood of Lebanon Solomon the King Made himself a palanquin: He made its pillars of silver, Its support of gold, Its seat of purple, Its interior paved with love By the daughters of Jerusalem. Go forth, O daughters of Zion, and see King Solomon with the crown with which his mother crowned him on the day of his wedding, the day of the gladness of his heart.” (‭Song of Solomon (3:6-11 NKJV)

There is prophetic imagery to consider: (1) 60 valiant warriors armed with swords drawn prepared against a night assault against the King.  Sixty is a number comprised of 5×12.  Five is a number pointing to the 5 wounds of Jesus, the Atoning Work of His Cross.  Twelve is a governing number (12 Tribes of Israel; 12 Apostles of the Lamb).   (2) His Crown given to him “on his wedding day…the day of the gladness of his heart”.   John receives a preview of that great day. “And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” (Revelation 19:6-7 NKJV).  This day is not far off. Are we making ourselves ready? “Forsaking all others…Clinging to Him alone?”. These are vows often repeated in Wedding ceremonies today. The Bride and Bridegroom make public declarations of their exclusive devotion to one another.

THE CHARIOT OF THE KING

Even the description of the King’s chariot in SOS 3:6-11 mentioned earlier is suggestive of the work of God’s transforming love.

(1) Wood is a beautiful picture of His sinless humanity.  He took on our human form to demonstrate what perfect humanity was all about through his words and deeds. (2) Gold in the scriptures speaks of the divine nature.  It speaks of the mystery of God’s nature & character represented in humanity.  “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself”(II Corinthians ‭5:19a NKJV) (3) Silver speaks of redemption and the goal of purifying process of the crucible is purified silver (See Psalm 12:6;Malachi 3:3).  (4) Purple is associated with royalty; Kings were adorned often on purple robe to indicate their sovereignty and rule.

All of these descriptions are to remind us of the value and worth which the Father in sending Jesus, the Messiah thought about us. “And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 1:5-6 NKJV)

For the Shulamite, her beauty and transformation as a result of the King’s love is so magnificent that “they praised her.  ‘Who is she who looks forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, Awesome as an army with banners?’ “(SOS 6:9b-10 NKJV).  So it will be in this hour of transformation.  A Bride without spot or blemish is arising, adorned with His beauty, terrible as an amy with banners.

(c) Copyright 2015, Walter Fletcher Jr.  All rights reserved.  This article may be copied and shared free of charge provided that it is not sold or altered in any way from its original content.  Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

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SONG OF SONGS (Pt.2)

“Do not look upon me, because I am dark, because the sun has tanned me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept.” (‭Song of Solomon‬ 1:6 NKJV)

KEEPER OF THE VINEYARD

The Shulamite found herself in an undesirable position.  She experienced rejection from her family, being placed outside and exposed to the elements. She was left alone to care for their vineyard.   To increase her consternation and perplexity she says, “my own vineyard I have not kept”(SOS 1:6).

This is truly one of the mysterious ways God deals with those who are truly called of the Lord.  They are often called FROM their job or natural vocation TO serve in His vineyard.  In other words, His jealous love over them will mean first a sense of isolation from that which is comfortable and familiar.  It may even seem like they are somehow being “punished” through their isolation.  And yet, in the purposes of God, their isolation is the beginning of the process unto promotion. They have been proven and are counted worthy caretakers of His vineyard.  We see this time and again with His servants in the scriptures; Moses was separated for forty years on the backside of a desert.  Joseph spent thirteen years in isolation in Egypt before being called into Pharaoh’s court. Elijah was called by God to go and hide himself for three years before he was revealed to be God’s voice in the midst of Israel’s spiritual confusion under King Ahab and Jezebel’s reign.

WHAT TO DO?

What do you do when you are in a season of “down time” or secluded in the Lord’s vineyard.  Be faithful and learn the lessons that the season (and gift) of hiddeness has allowed. For example the Shulamite has some wisdom to pass along. “Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.” (Song of Solomon 2:15 NKJV).   It is not the big foxes that ruin the vine of your future calling.  Rather it’s the “little foxes” that pull at the tender vines in order to eat the maturing grapes on the vine.  

God looks for those who will be faithful to care and watch over His vineyard. The little foxes are often the seemingly “innocent” things allowed in to spoil the intertwining fellowship and fruitfulness of God’s vineyard (personally and corporately).

ABIDING FELLOWSHIP

The Lord Jesus teaches us the secret of abiding fruitfulness and fellowship. “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser…Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing…You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another. (John 15:1, 4-5, 16-17 NKJV)

 SONG OF THE VINEYARD

The Shulamite captures the King’s heart by her beauty and the singularity of purpose. Everything changes. Fruitfulness occurs where there was seemingly nothing to display for her efforts. “Solomon had a vineyard at Baal Hamon; He leased the vineyard to keepers; everyone was to bring for its fruit A thousand silver coins. My own vineyard is before me. You, O Solomon, may have a thousand, And those who tend its fruit two hundred. You who dwell in the gardens, the companions listen for your voice— Let me hear it!” (‭Song of Solomon 8:11-13 NKJV)

They were being called not merely to celebrate the King’s lush vineyards but the Shulamite’s vineyard as well.  So it is true, God’s love for us and our response of love toward God, our King, will produce great spiritual fruitfulness in our life and vocation.   King Solomon honors the Shulamite by asking her to share with others the secret of her fruitful vineyard.  His companions are ready to listen to what she has to say.   So, too, today there are those who are eager to hear from those who have been prepared to make known the secrets of the fruitful vine of His Kingdom.

 (c) Copyright 2015, Walter Fletcher Jr.  All rights reserved.  This article may be copied and shared free of charge provided that it is not sold or altered in any way from its original content.  Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

SONG OF SONGS(Pt. 1)

If you have ever read the Song of Songs (Song of Solomon) in one sitting, you get the sense that this would make a beautiful modern Opera (Saving for the tragedy).  The writer provides movement, balance and counter-balance. When you think about it…as these movements occur in this great canticle(Song of the Bride and the Bridegroom) so it is true in life.                 Life has it’s movement and change(Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn). You cannot hasten nor prevent the seasons. They come,whether you want them to or not.  Seasons of the Spiritual life are also about Seasons which bring Spiritual change. Let’s consider some of the seasons that the woman called the Shulamite experienced.

REJECTED…RECEIVED
In the first chapter, the Shulamite describes her condition as being rejected by her brothers.
“Dark am I, yet lovely, daughters of Jerusalem, dark like the tents of Kedar, like the tent curtains of Solomon. Do not stare at me because I am dark, because I am darkened by the sun. My mother’s sons were angry with me and made me take care of the vineyards; my own vineyard I had to neglect.”(Song of Solomon 1:5, 6 NIV)
Her brothers do not have a very high opinion of her worth so they excluded her as it were from the life of the family. She is left exposed and discounted in her true value and worth. And yet, this exclusion was the occasion by which she caught the eye of the King.  “Like a lilly among thorns, So is my love among the daughters…Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my beloved among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love.”(Song of Solomon 2:3, 4 NIV)
This is true in the ways of God. Often the shunning by so called “brothers” is the means by which God gets you free to be wholly His.  Remember in the Book of Acts,Chapter 7, Stephen gives one of the great messages regarding the mystery of God’s ways using the examples of the Bible heroes, Moses, David, Joseph (and even pointed toward Jesus of Nazareth). He points out that they were first shunned and rejected then later received and accepted. Their ill treatment of isolation(and  threat of death) would lead them later to time of glorious exaltation.
So too,the Shulamite discovered what may have been meant for evil, God meant it (in the end) for her good. Being exposed by the trials,caring for their vineyards and “darkened by the Sun”,only caused her to be even more distinguished and beautiful in the eyes of the King.
JOY IS COMING
You may be going through a difficult season. A season of dark trials may have come, not of your making. Hang on in faith! God will have the final word. The psalmist wrote, “Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”(Psalm 30:4, 5 NIV)
The Shulamite could celebrate His faithfulness, “He brought me to his banquet table, His banner over me is love”. God’s love for you will never fail. Remember…You’re His favorite!

(c) Copyright 2015, Walter Fletcher Jr. All rights reserved. This article may be copied and shared free of charge provided that it is not sold or altered in any way from its original content. Please address all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com